Banker Wire Mesh Sculpture Highlights the History of Seattle’s South Lake Union Neighborhood
Re-Stack Sculpture Defines City’s Reinvention
In the heart of Seattle, the recently revitalized South Lake Union neighborhood now boasts everything from top-notch dining to the brand new Amazon headquarters. As one of the fastest developing neighborhoods in the state of Washington, South Lake Union has also added luxurious living, recreational and artistic spaces. To stay on trend with the progressive theme, Banker Wire was chosen to help create a contemporary 20-foot wire mesh sculpture for a plaza in the heart of the neighborhood.
Commissioned by Vulcan, Inc., the sculpture, titled Re-Stack, was designed by Seattle-based Lead Pencil Studio, and was formed entirely using Banker Wire woven wire mesh. Its highest peak sits 20 feet above the plaza, and lays 25 feet wide and 4 feet deep.
Lead Pencil sought to create a work that both acknowledged the buildings of the city’s past and suggested the structures of its future. Lead Pencil Studio creatively executed this approach by forming rectangular woven wire mesh boxes, haphazardly stacked to create beautiful sculptures. The sculpture’s stacks evoke the masonry construction characteristic of the city. Each stack is made of boxes, which were inspired by local shipping and containerized good-based businesses, including Amazon. Banker Wire mesh provides the strength and durability required by the ambitious outdoor installation and the vast array of aesthetic options needed to realize the designer’s creative approach. Woven wire mesh’s unique appearance – which suggests both strength and lightness – matches the sculpture’s progressive aesthetic.
Lead Pencil chose Banker Wire woven wire mesh for its precision, strength and aesthetic possibilities. Nine different Banker Wire mesh patterns were used to introduce an urban street edge to the setback plaza where the sculpture sits. Large, high-definition lock crimp patterns with a traditional square mesh design offset the small, intricate details of the smaller lock crimps. With a highly defined “bump” at its intersections, Banker Wire’s lock crimp mesh has a clean, crisp appearance, matching the sculpture’s futuristic aesthetic. Lead Pencil Studio opted for lock crimp mesh both because of its beauty and Banker Wire’s ability to manufacture it in many different sizes. The variety of opening sizes creates different levels of opacity, light filtration and shadows for a truly unique work of art.
“I think that most artists and designers would be shocked at the creative options available from Banker Wire,” says Daniel Mihalyo, artist at Lead Pencil Studio. “We were left feeling awestruck by the craft, process and technical range available.”
Millennium Tiles was responsible for coating approximately half of the Banker Wire metal mesh to give it a multi-colored appearance. Their process grows the stainless steel’s invisible chromium oxide layer, which protects the mesh from rust, and changes the way it reacts with incoming light. The resulting light interference creates a prismatic reaction, responding with colors of Wheat, Bronze, Slate, Blue, Burgundy, Gold, Blue Green and Green.
“In our process, only 200 nanometers of chromium oxide are added to the existing layer – taking it to just 400 nanometers of chromium oxide total – so the mesh essentially retains its original thickness. Also, since no pigment is added, ultraviolet light will not affect the coating’s appearance, and it should last the life of the installation,” says Walter Hauk of Millennium Tiles. “It turned out fabulous.”
The remaining half of Banker Wire’s mesh was sent to Cleveland Black Oxide for conversion coating.
“The black oxide process provided a black metallic finish that matched the wire mesh design structure in both quality and aesthetic appeal,” says Dave Tathum, of Cleveland Black Oxide. “Banker Wire and their stainless steel were incredibly great to work with – and because the product can be bent and twisted after the oxidation process, it proved especially easy to manipulate into the correct positions.”
Re-Stack is made of nearly a thousand individual metal components with no two parts alike, so it required the utmost precision in manufacturing. Manufacturing tolerances had to be within 1/16 of an inch on each part in order to maintain overall accuracy. Banker Wire’s exacting standards and high-quality tooling allowed the company to meet the unique demands of this artistic project. In addition, the project had a particularly rigorous schedule that required Banker Wire to provide support for contractors and architects throughout the construction phase.
“Banker Wire’s customer support was instrumental to the development of the project,” says Mihalyo. “The company was clear and accurate in the manufacture and delivery of materials, and they generously walked us through every nuance of their product, capabilities and materials. We would be thrilled to work with them again in the future.”
The nearly infinite range of what is possible with Banker woven wire mesh resulted in an artistic masterpiece that adds form and function to the South Lake Union streets.
Vulcan, Inc., located in Seattle, Washington, privately commissioned the sculpture.
Re-Stack was completed in July 2015.
About Banker Wire: Banker Wire is the world’s leading manufacturer of woven and welded wire mesh for architectural and industrial applications. With the most modern and productive mill in the U.S., Banker Wire provides custom-weaved material for any aesthetic on any scale – from intricate design highlights to expansive building facades. Banker Wire’s investment in its people and equipment provides its customers with innovative and value-based products that solve problems and exceed expectations. For more information, call 1-800-523-6772 or visit www.bankerwire.com.